November 6, 2012

Protests still can’t stop Berwick wind turbines

by Brian Daniel, The Journal | Nov 6 2012 |

A wind turbine erected in Northumberland despite planning approval having been quashed will be allowed to stay.

Northumberland County Council has given planning permission to a farmer at Berwick who put up the engine despite his original go-ahead having been overturned following a judicial review.

Councillors also gave permission for another single turbine proposal in the Berwick area which had also originally been given approval only for that to be quashed following the review.

The man behind the review spoke of his regret at both schemes having been approved, and called on the council to take heed of an “overwhelming cry” in the county not to “ruin our landscape for nothing.”

Farmer Sinclair Robson was initially given the go-ahead to erect the turbine at his New Haggerston farm by the council’s North area planning committee in February, in line with an officer’s recommendation.

At the same meeting, single turbines at Brackenside Farm at Ford, and Wark Common were also approved. Cornhill farmer Andrew Joicey then sought a judicial review of all three decisions, accusing the authority of procedural errors.

The council conceded it had erred in some areas and the High Court in London subsequently quashed the permissions, meaning the authority would have to re-determine the applications.

Mr Robson erected his turbine regardles, sparking anger from Mr Joicey, local residents and bosses at a nearby caravan park, who claimed it set a precedent, while concerns were also voiced by Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith.

The council sent officials to the farm and wrote to its owner asking him to stop but had not received a response some time later.

It failed to take any other action, claiming it would be inappropriate to do so until the application had been determined.

Mr Robson’s proposal and the Brackenside bid have both now gone before the council’s North planning committee a second time, and been re-approved in line with officer recommendations.

Mr Joicey, who believes the council is still erring in the handling of applications, called on the authority to follow the lead of other authorities which are approving fewer wind farms in the face of public outcry over a proliferation of turbines.

He said: “It would be an absolute tragedy if Northumberland got to that stage in this stage of the game when there is an overwhelming cry in the county let us not ruin our landscape for nothing because the benefits of these things have not been shown and increasingly it is looking dubious.”

Mr Robson’s wife said he did not want to comment.

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